Leigh-Anne Pinnock has bravely spoken out about racism in the music industry, saying how she felt ‘invisible’ and was advised to ‘work twice as hard’ as the other members of the band.
In an emotional interview with , the 27-year-old recalls crying to her manager as she struggled to find her place in Little Mix.
She explained: “During the first couple of years of being in the band, I did feel invisible. I remember crying to my manager regularly, I just couldn't seem to find my place and didn't know why.
“I didn't feel like I had as many fans as the other girls. It was a strange feeling. I never thought that it was because I was the darkest member of the band. I felt overlooked. So I did everything to make myself more noticed, convinced I wasn't good enough.”
The singer says that she was also told by Frank Gatson, Beyoncé's creative director, that as 'the black girl, you have to work twice as hard.'
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Leigh-Anne says it’s through other women sharing experiences that she started to understand her feelings.
“Now I don't feel alone because I've seen lots of women speak out about this,” she explained. "I know there are girls of colour out there who have felt the same as me.”
She credits books such as What a Time to Be Alone, The Slumflower's Guide by Chidera Eggerue and writing by Nia the Light, the Zimbabwean & English YouTuber, in educating her on feeling confident in her own skin.
“We have a massive problem with racism which is built into our society. It's scary. But the more people that speak out, the more change we can start to make."
We applaud Leigh-Anne for speaking so powerfully and using her platform to start such important conversations.